Poll: Nearly half of Hudson residents blame feds for 9/11

Poll: Nearly half of Hudson residents blame feds for 9/11

by Paul Koepp
Wednesday December 05, 2007, 7:07 PM

Hudson County residents are more likely than not to believe that U.S. government officials chose to ignore warnings about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a recent Jersey Journal/New Jersey City University poll.

But that doesn't mean the 49 percent who expressed that belief -- versus 46 percent who did not-- are all conspiracy theorists, said NJCU political science professor Fran Moran, one of the poll's authors.

"While everyone who believes in a conspiracy would answer 'yes' to (that question), not everyone who answered 'yes' would necessarily believe in the conspiracy," he wrote.

According to the poll, conducted Nov. 14, 29 percent said they believe U.S. government officials may have been involved in the attacks, while 64 percent said they did not believe that. Moran wrote that although conspiracy theories about government involvement have been repeatedly debunked, the fact that nearly a third of respondents believe "reveals a deep distrust of government officials."

He suggested that the "apparent ease" of the attacks may have made more people receptive to conspiracy theories that have gained currency both at conferences and rallies, and, of course, on the Internet.

The theories have been widely accessible, Moran wrote, with 44 percent of those polled saying they are familiar with movies, books or Web sites that push the idea that the government was somehow complicit in the attacks.

"We probably should have asked if they were familiar with The 9/11 Commission Report, because in retrospect, I suspect that fewer people had read summaries of the official report than had seen the conspiracy information," he wrote.

Traumatic political events demand explanations that match their magnitude, Moran said, citing the attack on Pearl Harbor, John F. Kennedy's assassination and the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. as events that have spawned conspiracy theories.